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Gallagher Premiership Rugby Season 2021/22 Preview

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Gallagher Premiership Rugby Season 2021/22 Preview

This Friday night sees the return of the Gallagher Premiership Rugby season, as Bristol Bears clash with Saracens at Ashton Gate. We preview the season ahead and take a look at the teams who are predicted to be challenging for the title in June. All odds used in this article are correct at the time of writing and are supplied by Betterbet Bookmakers.

Last season’s winners, Harlequins have added Italian fly-half Tommaso Allan from Benetton as well as Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors) and Christian Scotland-Williamson, who is returning to rugby after a period in the NFL. Bookmakers have Quins priced at 12/1, which makes them only fifth favourites to retain their title. Last season’s victory was somewhat of a surprise, but if they can continue to play in a similar free-flowing, attacking style then they will be difficult for most opponents this season.

Exeter Chiefs are the currently second favourites (5/2) to reclaim the title they won in 2017 & 2020. They have been relatively quiet in the transfer market, with their only notable additions being Josh Iosefa-Scott (Highlanders) and Sean O’Brien (Connacht). They have promoted a number of academy products to the first team squad, as they continue to develop and promote their own talent.

Last season’s beaten semi-finalists, Bristol Bears (5/1) will be looking to take the next step under Pat Lam and build on their strong showing last year. They have lost both Max Malins and Ben Earl, who both have returned to Saracens after last season’s loan spell. Both players made a huge impact at Ashton Gate and the squad are going to need to step up to fill the void they leave behind. Any team containing Charles Piutau and Semi Radradra are going to be an attacking force, but will their pack be able to provide them with enough front-foot ball to excel?

Newly promoted Saracens (15/8) have been labelled as pre-season favourites to win the Gallagher Premiership Rugby crown on their return to the English top flight. A large number of players return to the squad after various season-long loans and bolster what was already a talent-laden squad. Sarries will be looking to make an impact following their relegation for exceeding salary-cap restrictions at the end of the 2019/20 season. Looking at the strength of their squad, it would be difficult not to agree with the bookmakers here. It will be interesting to see how quickly they adapt to life back in the Premiership and they could perhaps be a little off the pace at the start of the season.

Last season’s other beaten semi-finalists, Sale Sharks (13/2) welcome back former players, Tommy Taylor and Simon McIntyre from Wasps. Their significant South African contingent remain as they look to build and develop on their impressive performances last season. Their squad has a settled look to it and they should be able to pick up where they left off and are expected to be one of the early season pacesetters.

Wasps and Northampton are both priced at 20/1 and either team will consider the a top four finish this season a success. Both teams showed that they can compete with any team in the division, but also frequently turned in some very average performances. The Coventry-based team welcome internationals Vaea Fifita (Hurricanes) and Francois Hougaard (Worcester Warriors), and the returning Nizaam Carr (Bulls). They considered last season a real disappointment and will be looking to produce more consistent performances. The Saints have made a number of signings this summer, as they look to improve on last season’s fifth place finish. However they have lost some talented players like, Francois van Wyk (Leicester Tigers) and Owen Franks (Hurricanes), so it will be interesting to see how long their new signings take to settle into life at Franklin’s Gardens.

The return of England international, Danny Cipriani is Bath’s marquee signing this summer and is joined by D’Arcy Rae (Glasgow Warriors) and Jaco Coetzee (The Stormers). They have lost a number of players during the off-season and if they are going to be competitive in the league their coaches are going to need Cipriani to be his mercurially talented self. Their pack is going to need to step up and be more combative, as last season they failed to be as competitive as their fans would like. Priced at 25/1 a top four finish is deemed to be an improbability by bookmakers.

Leicester Tigers are also priced at 25/1 and are viewed as a team in a bit of a transitional phase. There has been a significant number of signings and departures from Welford Road during the summer. Big questions hang over how well the new signings gel as well as the form of Freddie Burns after his return from Japan. Both Leicester and Bath have a lot of work to do if they are going to recapture their glory days in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

Gloucester Rugby (50/1) have signed the impressive Scottish international Adam Hastings, who should be an exciting addition to the team. The Cherry & Whites have lost experienced campaigners in the form of Matt Banahan (retired), Willi Heinz and Matt Garvey (Worcester Warriors). It looks like they will need to invest a lot of time and faith in their existing squad members and academy prospects. A top eight finish would be the least that the Kingsholm faithful would settle for this season.

The three remaining clubs are all priced at 100/1 and are not regarded as having any chance of finishing towards the top of the league. London Irish finished 9th last season and will be happy to repeat that feat again this year. They have been very active in the transfer market, bringing in a substantial number of players. Last season’s bottom team, the Worcester Warriors have been even more busy during the off-season, signing 18 new players, with 19 going the opposite direction. The team’s most northern club, the Newcastle Falcons will be hoping to draw on the experience of in-coming ex-Harlequin’s Nathan Earle and Mike Brown. They have made some seemingly astute signings that bolster some weaknesses that were exposed in the forward pack last season.

 

We hope you enjoyed the article ‘Gallagher Premiership Rugby Season 2021/22 Preview.’ Who do you think will win this season’s Gallagher Premiership Rugby title? Let us know your thoughts!

 

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